UO students on edge after rumor of shooting threat spreads on social media

Police contacted the individual behind a social media post that caused concern and say the person is cooperating.

Posted: May 13, 2019 6:57 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A social media post has University of Oregon students worried about the possibility of a school shooting, but police say there was never a threat and the family of the person who caused the concern say it was a result of a mental health crisis.

The University of Oregon Police Department said over the weekend students made them aware of a social media post from a community member at the university. They said the original post didn't threaten the campus or threaten a shooting and information shared by others on social media, including plans for a school shooting, was not accurate.

Police contacted the individual and said the person is voluntarily cooperating with police.

The Delta Zeta sorority was one of the groups on campus that canceled an event due to the rumors. They had planned to hold a cancer research fundraiser at the Erb Memorial Building on Sunday.

Senior Sam Michaan said those students did the right thing canceling their events.

"Obviously, social media enables the spread of misinformation but you know, I think that in this situation it was better to be safe than sorry," Michaan said.

Police are reminding all members of the community to immediately and directly share information or concerns with law enforcement and not simply share on social media and to not share unfounded information.

The family of the person whose social media post caused concern put out a statement through the university. Below is the full statement:

We are the family members of the person who, during a mental health crisis, made posts on a Facebook page that some people found worrying or threatening.

These posts never threatened violence to the UO or any person, but showed the strained state our family member was in. Other people somehow pulled from this that our family member was threatening violence to the campus and then shared that with each other on social media, and that went viral.

We want the community to know that our family member is not a threat, and is in the hospital under secure care this week and our family member will leave the state and come home with us after leaving the hospital. Our family member has no guns, no history of violence. Our family member is a person having a mental health crisis and receiving needed care. Our family member only has wanted to do good in the world, but in this state, the words used on Facebook to express fragmented thoughts were unusual.

We are sorry that this has resulted in worry or fear for people at the school our family member loves. We hope that you will understand that our family member is not a threat and to please respect our family’s need to take care of one another at this time.

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